‘I feel the need, the need for speed’ so says Maverick, the Tom Cruise character in the
1980s film Top Gun. Along with my housemates we watched that film countless times in
college. That was in the cassette days, long before Netflix, Disney+ or even DVDs.
I did a speed session of my own last Tuesday. There was nothing special about the session itself, a
simple enough two mile warm up followed by 7×800 metre repeats around the duck pond in
Carrigaline, and a two mile cool down back home. The difference was how I felt afterwards, I
was on a high. I could not stop talking when I got home after the buzz of running fast. I felt
like a child after buying a new pair of runners and zooming around to see how fast I could go
in them. The enjoyment I got from it fueled the rest of my week.
It was lovely to have a little bit more structure in my training after a crazy few weeks. These next few weeks are vital
before the taper begins, but the June Bank holiday weekend is creeping upon us. I did a long
run towards the end of the week and got my weekly mileage to 50 miles for the first time in
this training block. During the long run I practised not only using gels, but also carrying them
for the run also. I have never enjoyed running with a belt to carry gels, phones, car keys etc.
I have a pair of Ronhill shorts that has multiple pockets. Items fit into the pockets with ease
and don’t bounce around, so it doesn’t affect me running. These little things can make a
difference on marathon day and I’ve practiced carrying these on my last few long runs.
Everything is now being done with the marathon in mind. I’m working out what time I’ll eat in
the morning of the race, what time to get the bus, who will be there on the day at different
spots around the route in case I need to give them extra drinks or gels or both if I need them.
I’ve gone over the route on line countless times just to re-familiarise myself with it. I have my
race plan A, B and C lined up for myself in case I need them. All of these things might be
slightly overkill but I feel I need to do them in order to have myself prepared. I want to give
myself the best chance of running the best race I can. I’ve trained well and don’t want to
jeopardise the work I’ve put in. Sorting out some of this logistical work now won’t waste
precious energy needed closer to the race.
To say that I’m excited about the race is an understatement. I can’t wait for the race day. Yes I’ll be nervous and yes I’ll be running to the loo countless times on the morning of the race but I’ll get to go out and run around the streets of Cork again in front of people I know and with people I know, how could I not be excited. But for now it’s about capping that enthusiasm and energy and keeping it in reserve for race day. Yes, I will keep an eye on marathon day, but I won’t overthink it also. I will try to keep my mind focused on one run at a time.
To keep me occupied I watched the sequel to Top Gun recently Top Gun – Maverick and memories from college days came flooding back to me. In the new film the Tom Cruise character is now an older pilot trying to teach his team for an important mission. He offers encouragement to one struggling pilot by saying “Don’t think, just do”. And that seems like solid advice for me and my running for a few weeks ahead.
Enjoy the week and happy running!